Breaking flea life cycle on stored furniture

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Old 08-09-19, 09:45 AM
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Breaking flea life cycle on stored furniture

Three months ago I was moving out of state for the summer, so I made plans to end my lease and put my furniture into a storage unit. About a month before moving out I hired a pet sitting service when I went out of town for a week, and just a week before moving I discovered my cat had fleas. They were in my furniture and carpet as well. It wasn't a massive infestation, but it was enough that I couldn't get them fully eradicated before moving. With the move being pretty stressful and being behind schedule I didn't want to deal with a fogger and re-homing for the night. I opted to use flea shampoo, Advantage, and three daily combings on the cat. I used Adams Flea and Tick Home spray on all furniture and carpets several times over the week, and used Vet's Best (supposedly non-toxic, though I learned later that cedar is not good for cats) daily. We vacuumed daily and on the last night in the apartment I steam cleaned the carpet (I was planning on doing this before the fleas showed up). My wife had used a similar treatment plan (plus DE, which I did not want to mess with) several years ago when her cat picked up fleas from a hotel on a cross-country drive, and it took several weeks but worked and her apartment has been flea-free ever since. We did the move, gave my cat some Capstar when we got to our home for the summer, and she did not bring any fleas into the new home.

I am not so optimistic about the furniture, which is sitting in the climate-controlled storage unit and which I'll be picking up and moving back into my new apartment in a week and a half. I intended to give a final spray of Adams in the storage unit, but it was packed from front-to-back, so I couldn't reach 3/4 of the items, and I was running almost a full day late on my move so I forgot anyway. I also forgot to replace my vacuum bag. Obviously, I'll do that before bringing it into the new home. I'm primarily concerned with the fabric sofa, the bed, and the fun 6-foot cat tower. I initially hoped that there would be enough time in the storage unit that the life cycle would break, but I'm getting nervous now that my move-in is coming up. Things I see online suggest that while 12 weeks without a meal may be enough to break the life cycle, it also might not.

I'm looking for advice on whether any remaining fleas have likely starved (I doubt this, but maybe my treatments will have made them weaker?), and what kinds of preventatives I should consider as I reclaim my furniture. My cat is now on monthly Advantage treatments to prevent this from ever happening again. If need be I can move everything in, do a fogger, and go to a hotel with my cat for the night. But I'd like to save this as a last resort because I feel like setting off a flea bomb on my first night in a new apartment is not the best way to start out with my new landlord.

My wife and parents suggested setting off a fogger in the storage unit the day before I move furniture. Unfortunately, the unit's walls are ~10 feet high, but the ceiling is ~14 feet, so there is a big gap between the top of my unit and the top of the building. I think this has something to do with the fire code. A fogger would quickly spread beyond the unit and into the whole building, so this is not an option.

Thanks in advance!
 
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Old 08-10-19, 09:34 AM
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Forget the "foggers" as they only kill very exposed stages of insects. No penetration into and under things. Furniture and tables can actually act as an umbrella to an extent.

Keep the cat current with Advantage and nothing else. Flea collars, dusts, some shampoos are repellent and work against the non-repellency of Advantage. At this point we want the adult fleas to feed on the cat, as that will kill them.

Flea pupae, which are the stage immediately before adult can survive for 9 months until a viable host walks by when they literally spring from their pupal cocoons and latch on for immediate feed.The larvae, which precede the pupa, feed on pet hair, dander, etc so they will pretty much all develop into pupal cocoons unless the insecticide got some larva.

Flea treatments target the larval stage which means a key strategy is to clean, vacuum and treat under neath things such as removable cushions, open up sleeper couches/beds, underneath beds, on closet floors just behind the door especially as larvae like darkness.

Does this Adams spray have a "growth regulator/birth control" label on it? If not, then that is a badly needed ingredient to any flea treatment.

I would pre-treat the new apartment, especially the carpeting with approved flea insecticides and growth regulator. The aerosol that I show as an example can also be used on vinyl/hardwood but lightly. Read the label and other info on the particular product(s) you choose.

I'd consider treating the furniture, especially under cushions, overlapping upholster/fabric, etc as I move it out. The aerosol dries quicker than a compressed air sprayer treatment would in this case. You can replace cushions immediately.

The unhatched flea pupa cocoons will hatch out yet no matter what you do so vacuuming is important. Between that, Advantage on the cat, treating/vacuuming furniture as it's removed and pre-treating the new apt, you will have a good treatment plan in place. Don't get discouraged with the presence of adults. When we did flea jobs we told the customer to give it two weeks after initial treatment to re-assess. These guys are difficult and it is physically demanding as well as chemically intensive. Also expensive even for DIY. Keep us posted.
 
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Old 08-10-19, 09:38 AM
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https://www.domyown.com/pt-alpine-fl...ol-p-1886.html

This aerosol is liked by the industry but there are others that are liked too. This is not a total release "fogger" type but rather an aerosol that is held upsidedown and is controlled by the operator as a downward spray. Check out flea products in general to determine what suits your needs best. We often used both compressed air sprayers (water based sprays) as well as aerosols such as this one.
 
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Old 08-14-19, 01:09 PM
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Thank you for the detailed response! After doing some more research I realized that pupae were what I really needed to be worried about, as adults, eggs, and larvae would hopefully have starved in the three months without a host. But it seems that it would be very easy for the pupae to bring a full infestation around quickly, and as you mentioned, that a fogger would not be very helpful for this situation.

The Adams spray does have an IGR (according to Amazon), though I'm not sure which of the ingredients it is:
  • (S)-Methoprene 0.01%
  • Etofenprox 0.5%
  • Piperonyl Butoxide 2.0%
I will pick up a can of the aerosol you suggested before I move, and pre-treat the apartment. As I bring furniture in I will give it a treatment with either the Adams or the aerosol, depending on the item (I imagine the aerosol will be better for crevices, between cushions, etc. The Adams seems like it may be better suited for regular follow-up dustings across the apartment). And I will vacuum daily as I get settled. I'm hopeful that the moving process will wake most of the pupae and I'll be able to get them knocked down as soon as they emerge. At this point I think I will simply throw the couch out--since it's a pop-out sleeper it's the item I'm most worried about treating effectively, and this is a smaller apartment than the last so I don't really need it.

Thanks again! Still happy for any further advice anyone might have.
 
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Old 08-14-19, 03:56 PM
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Sounds like you have a good plan. The Adams spray has good ingredients; the methoprene is the growth regulator.

Focus on "dark" areas such as under/between cushions, under area rugs, under beds/furniture, inside closets, etc.

Remember, don't get discouraged if/when you have "emergers" popping out. It's kind of how it works; happens to us pro's frequently. You have good insecticides and by doing the work to get them in the proper places you will have success; hopefully sooner rather than later.
 
 

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